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FOX News Watch

News/Business. Host Jon Scott reports on media bias in the coverage of weekly news events. New.

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Benghazi 9, Washington 5, Irs 4, Us 4, Boris 3, Bush 2, John Brennan 2, Buk 2, The Irs 2, Jay Carney 2, Ap 2, Obama Administration 2, Mr. Cole 2, George W. Bush 2, Diabetes 2, Obama 2, James Rosen 2, Fox News 1, The Average American 1, Glucerna Hunger Smart 1,
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  FOX News    FOX News Watch    News/Business. Host Jon Scott reports on media  
   bias in the coverage of weekly news events. New.  

    May 18, 2013
    2:30 - 3:00pm EDT  

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it's been a week of nonstop news. the department of justice grabs phone records from the associated press, claiming it needs information as to who leaked secrets. the irs admits to targeting conservative groups, delaying or denying their request to be recognized as tax exempt, while greasing the skids for liberal groups to do the same thing. more details revealed about the attacks in benghazi. talking point e-mails give clarity to the administration's spin on the tragedy. a trifecta of problems for the obama white house gets full media attention. plus, an abortion doctor gets convicted of murder. the media finally show up. o.j. is back in the news. and the press is none too kind. and what is scott pelley talking about here? >> our house is on fire. >> covering the coverage on this special edition of "fox news
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watch." on the panel this weekers fox news contributor juddy miller, cal thomas, jim pinkerton, contributing editor, the american conservative magazine, meryl brown, director of month claire state university school of communication and media. richard granel, former spokesman to the last four ambassadors to the united nations. i'm john scott. fox news watch is on right now. >> it says no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media or for the telephone toll records of any member of the news media without the express authorization of the attorney general. did you delegate that express authorization in writing to mr. cole? >> no, i don't think the recusal -- we looked for this. i don't think there is anything in writing with regard to my recusal, which is again, not --
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>> the question was, what about the requirement in the code that you expressly approve -- now, you recused yourself. was that express authorization authority delegated to mr. cole? >> once i recused myself in that matter, he does become the acting attorney general with all the powers that the attorney general has. >> the attorney general eric holder, once again facing a congressional hearing. this time getting a grilling over the justice department's seizure of phone records from the associated press. details from 20 different phone lines where more than 100 journalists work on various stories. gary pruitt, the a.p.'s president, reacted. these records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by the ap during a two-months period. provide a road map to ap's news gathering operations and disclose information about ap's activities and operations that the government has no
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conceivable right to know. the media reacted. here is one example from the huffington post on-line. this story really got the attention of everyone in the media. >> well, it certainly got mine and it's one story that's kind of brought the media together, left, right, large, small, because all of a sudden, our ox is being goered and suddenly we have to remind the american people that a spree press is one -- free press is one of those things we take for granted but essential in protecting a democracy. but there was one journalist when didn't get the talking points, if i can use that word, and that's wolf blitzer who says if there is a national security issue at stake here, shouldn't the government have the right to tap my phone? no, wolf. it shouldn't. >> well, so national security leak or no? who decides if it's national
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security versus freedom of the press? >> the administration has that option. so the "washington post" on friday made the point that the ap had the story on may 7 and of course, john brennan was out talking about it on may 8. so it would appear that they were investigating the ap for doing what they themselves were doing, which is leak. so they wanted the exclusive to themselves, and they were willing to violate the law or bend the rules at least to investigative reporters. >> there is a process here, involves a notice period to the media in question. i've talked to multiple people at the ap and their lawyer. they were not notified about this as the law requires. had they been and had the obama administration been deft, they might have worked this out. they violated the provision requiring the notice. >> it's also pretty clear that the white house, well -- the ap was going to blow the cover on this story that the white house was getting ready to announce and that may be the source of all this.
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>> that's exactly right. to follow up on what jim was saying, there was an agreement between the white house and ap to hold this story action the story being the foiling of an al-qaeda plot for five days and then monday came and they had another quick meeting with administration officials and the ap said it was going to go ahead and publish anyway, even though the administration was going to announce this plot the next day. so the administration goes ahead, the c.i.a. goes ahead and says, well, they violated security here and we're going to investigate it using that as a pretext when they were going to release the information the very next day themselves. >> so if the white house had gotten to make this announcement the way they wanted to, judy, would we be having this investigation? >> we don't know that because look, none of us has top security clearances here, right? we're at a bit of a disadvantage. but it's not correct that the government doesn't have the right to seize records without notifying a news organization. they do have that right if an ongoing criminal investigation or issue of national security is about to be compromised.
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and that's what the issue is here. did the department of justice have cause to do what it did and did it -- was its dragnet too broad? we don't know the answer yet. >> the media matters is that liberal watchdog group. they have taken a lot of heat here for sort of pushing the line that the department of justice, the department of justice talking points on this ap scandal. >> yeah. it's not just media matters. you had politico, who really immediately launched out with, well, president obama is not really watching the justice department that closely because president bush watched his justice department too closely and it was politicized. so president obama's attitude is the correct way. that's really i think the talking point that the white house has been pushing, not only media matters picks it up, but politico picks it up. but let me make one strong point
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here, the leak had already occurred at the associated press and the obama administration was going after trying to find out who leaked. in the bush administration, president bush himself called the "new york times" to say, let's hold back on this story if you're going to give away some of our sources and methods. the "new york times" said no. and they went forward anyway. i think the government has the right, but they need to be able to put some pressure on the news organizations to see if they'll comply first. >> should the media be making the point that eric holder recuses himself in this case? i mean, it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of coverage. >> well, dana millbank said eric holder abdicate'ed and mocked him on thursday for acting like he didn't know his own justice department and didn't write down his recusal. who knew that lawyers never wrote things down? however, you can always count on the "washington post" it say all these scandals are nothing. just move on.
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>> what about that? the fact that eric holder apparently was supposed to, you know, put all of this down in writing and doesn't do it? this is the nation's top law enforcement. >> this is typical of what you see as the informality of governance of the obama administration. they believe that word of mouth is sufficient when it shouldn't be. they believe that management is something left to underlings. they don't seem to take much of the acts of governance as seriously as we might ask them to do. >> big story of the week, though, chris matthews, the thrill up the leg is gone. >> next on news watch, more on the media and the scandals overshadowing the president. >> is there a siege mentality on the west wing right now? >> the white house press grilled obama's spinman. will the media dig deeper for the details or back off to protect their man? find out next on "newswatch" [ man ] on december 17, 1903,
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>> mr. president, i want to ask you about the irs. can you assure the american people that nobody in the white house knew about the agency's actions before your counsel's office found out on april 22? and when they did find out, do you think that you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last friday? >> i can assure you that i certainly did not know anything about the i.g. report before the i.g. report had been leaked through the press. >> mr. obama's answer, or nonanswer, take your pick, to a bloomberg news reporter's question about who at the white house knew and when did they know about the irs targeting and interrogating conservative groups who wanted tax exempt status. one of the three scandals getting media attention this week. the coverage has been decidedly
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mixed. the "washington post" reacted with this: so it was appalling to learn friday that the irs had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. it was almost as disturbing, that president obama and treasury secretary jack lew have not personally apologized to the american people and promised a full investigation. compare that with this from the "new york times": irs focus on conservatives gives gop an issue to seize on. apparently to the times, jim, it's all about the politics [ laughter ] right. look, this story is moving so quickly that just on friday they were having hearings on this and so it's almost impossible to keep up with the number of revelations about this. it does appear, though, that there is a pattern here when the white house says and jay carney especially who has got a very difficult job these days, look, whatever it is, we only learned about it in the paper that morning. so give us time while we come up with our answers here before we give you one.
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>> john: let's go to rick who stood at the state department podium many times and tried to answer reporter's questions or maybe defer answers to reporter's questions. should the press be pushing for more here? >> yeah. absolutely. i've always been against reporter's group think. went from group think loving obama to suddenly group think hating obama. where is the investigation? we really need to have a media that can be nuanced, that can ask these tough questions and they're just not asking these tough questions. let's face it, president obama has been talking about fair share doctrine for quite some time. this irs scandal is an extension of his fair share doctrine. he's trying to make sure that we're all paying our fair share. where is the coverage and the questions along his campaign slogans and how this relates to the news scandal? >> john, the reason this story has been kept alive is because of this network. the reporting of catherine herridge, jennifer griffin, and james rosen kept this story alive until the rest of the
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media caught up with it. if the elite skate gave prizes, they would win. they don't so i hope they get pay raise. >> when it comes to the irs thing, at least usa today did some fairly big stories this week about how conservative groups were getting treated versus how liberal groups were getting treated. >> they did some work about how few people are taking a look at this. i would throw into the larger context of how this administration has been covered and, in fact, how little coverage there ever is these days of bureaucratic matters like irs. the washington bureaucracy is not being covered as it was in days when perhaps judy and i were in washington, d.c. as reporters and that's a tragedy and a disappointment. >> john: so much of what seems to be happening in these scandals escapes the president's notice because, you know, he's got a big bureaucracy to run and so forth. the question and it comes back to this show just about every week, is should reporters be
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comparing what was expected of or what was attributed to president george w. bush and vice president dick cheney? i mean, it would seem like they were responsible for every scandal, every nuance piece of business that went wrong in their administration, but not in this white house. >> yes. the selectivity of the press in terms of our outrage is kinds of impresssive and staggering in this case and it's also interesting to see when the press accepts the president's notion that he didn't know. he had no idea that this was going on in his white house, where as opposed to learning about it in the papers or in this case, in the case of benghazi, he had to know because he was actually on the phone very, very early with his own people. we don't know where he was after that, which is one of the questions we want the media to look into. ultimately, the media can only go so far when you get into national security, john. >> john: and we know that, for instance, when osama bin laden was killed, the president was
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right there -- >> he was right there and, of course, with pictures being taken of him in a sit room and there is to documentation whatsoever where the president was on the night of benghazi. look, there is some digging going on in news sources. news busters, counted up 23 george soros funded media organization receiving a total of $10 million from soros who have all been saying the irs is a nothing story. nothing to see here. this is not what they were saying about george w. bush or richard nixon or ronald reagan. >> john: the average american, merrill, gets upset when they find out that the irs seems to be taking a political stand even if some on capitol hill say this is not about politics. >> that's why the story has public traction. it's not about national security matters that are hard to report on. it is there in front of us. we are all engaged in our work lives with the irs. it affects every american. that's why this is a different matter and why it's getting different traction.
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>> john: let me pick up on a quick point that rick made about group think and the media. there is group think in the administration. kim stossel in friday's "wall street journal" pointed this out in an excellent way in a terrific column on the op ed page of the "wall street journal" and she said that the people that the obama people hired basically all think alike. so it's not necessary for the president to stand there and give orders. hey, use the irs to investigate these people. hey, cover up on benghazi. they all think that way so they don't need the marching orders. that's why the president can seem detached. >> not only do they think alike, they think the same way about the press, which is generally with disdain and generally with ineffectiveness. >> as has been pointed out many administrations, the press with disdain. >> john: next, the benghazi story is not going away.
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>>. whole issue of talking points frankly throughout this process has been a side show. the emails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. they reviewed them several months ago concluded that in fact there was nothing afoul in terms of the process we have used, and suddenly three days ago, this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. there is no there. if this was effort on our part to downplay what had happened or tamp it down it would be odd thing three days later we put all the information that has served as the basis for
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everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of libya. who executes a cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? so the whole thing defies logic. >> jon: with a great deal of presidential outrage. president obama doing his best to sweep away the benghazi talking points and claiming there is no there. inspiring this cartoon by a.f. bronco. showing him trying to stone wall the media. this week the white house released 100 emails related to the developments of those talking points. democrats claiming that the benghazi e-mails reveal only the republicans sold the news media on a bogus story. as juarms rosen reports, the new evidence exposes lingering
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divisions within the administration and raises further questions about how it has handled the deadly attacks of 9/11. these were c.i.a. drafted and c.i.a. finalized. >> the 94 pages of emails released by the obama administration it was the caif789 that drove the editing of the ultimately false talking points on benghazi. the emails reveal state department spokeswoman and assistant secretary of state david adams were major players in the process demanding the references to sharia and extremists. >> they were in part because of the ongoing f.b.i. investigation. those were concerns that we now know and we've known that the c.i.a. shared. >> reporter: it's true that general counsel steven kreston had given express instructions not to identify the attackers but they never swiftly abandoned them. a c.i.a. official emailed his
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colleagues at 9:15 on that friday september 14 to say, quoting the state department had major reservations for most of the documents. we revised the document with that concerns in mind. indeed, when newland cited it as the reason for deleting terrorism references, c.i.a. official said the f.b.i. didn't have major concerns and offered a couple suggestions. even after the references to al-qaeda and off shoot had been scrubbed, a c.i.a. official noted to his agency colleagues that, f.b.i. said not al-qaeda not al-qaeda there but that was theory. >> but the efforts were stylistic and non-substantive. they corrected the description of the building or the facility in benghazi from conflict to diplomatic facility and the like. >> reporter: in fact national security counsel spokesman said
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that john brennan then a white house counterterrorism aide, quote, will have ed it's. he opted to delete the assessments that they hailed across many sectors of libyan society. >> only thing that the white house spokesperson has is credibility. there is nobody at this point that believes the white house spokesperson, jay carney, that these were merely stylistic changes. >> finally the two changes of the state department's post benghazi review board, pickering and admiral mullen have written to the committee proposing two dates in may or june when they would be available to testify in defense of their final report. james rosen, fox news. >> jon: so how did the media handle these emails? we'll get into that next with the panel on news watch. with the spark cash card from capital one... boris earns unlimited rewards for his small business. can i get the smith contract, ease?
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